About WAHCA and Private Duty Home Care

Private duty home care agencies are companies that provide home care aides, companion care, and homemaker services for those who need in-home help due to issues concerning aging, illness, or disability. Private duty home care agencies may also provide private nursing or nurse delegation services. Client needs can run from difficulty in performing light housekeeping and meal preparation tasks to ambulation, transfer assistance, medication management, toileting, bathing, and dressing. Most private duty home care agencies also provide specialized Alzheimer's/dementia care and can assist with comfort care and end-of-life care if the client is working with a Medicare certified hospice agency.

"Private duty" means private pay. In other words, no government or health insurance money is used for the cost of care. The most common methods for covering the cost of private duty home care is through long-term care insurance or out of pocket.

Members of Washington Home Care Association are licensed by the Washington State Department of Health, employ trained and supervised caregivers, and assume all responsibility for payroll and all related taxes.

In addition, WAHCA member agencies:

  • Screen potential caregivers and perform reference and background checks
  • Only use caregivers who are employed by the agency directly – no independent contractors
  • Develop an individualized Plan of Care with input and approval from the client and family
  • Have 24/7 on-call availability
  • Monitor and supervise services and make regular visits to the home
  • Have Standards of Ethics guidelines they have agreed to

Caregivers from WAHCA member agencies are available to provide service to their clients from as little as a few hours a week to continuous around the clock care.

I need to find home care for an aging family member. What are the differences between a WAHCA member Licensed Home Care or Home Health agency, and a caregiver from an employment agency, registry, or another source such as Craig's List?

Home care choices can be difficult (and expensive) and we realized there are several options available to you. To help you, ask yourself some questions:

  1. Do I have the time and am I qualified to screen, interview, perform reference and background checks on a caregiver to work with a family member?
  2. Should a scheduling conflict occur, do I have qualified and reliable back-up caregivers in place?
  3. Am I comfortable with a caregiver who is not supervised, bonded and insured?
  4. Am I able to provide all the caregiver direction and supervision my family needs 24/7?
  5. Do I have the knowledge, resources, and time to handle payroll and required taxes for the caregiver?

If your answer to these or most of these questions are no, find a WAHCA member in your area.